Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fun with friends.

What a chaotic, fun-filled day we had at Ava's house! Thomas, Emmett, Roz and Ella all joined Ava breaking in all her new Christmas loot. The mamas got to hang out together with only the occasional meltdown or tattle-telling . We made snowflakes for this wonderful project. (Note to self: brush up on snowflake making skills...)

Ella and Not-So-Baby-Thomas.
Mama Sarah and Emmett.

I got a lot of this today from my other daughter.
Thankfully, this one smiled at me a bit.
You've read my thoughts here before...you know, the ones about how important it is for Ella to have these friendships. These friends are adopted. These friends are adopted from China and South Korea. These friends look like her. God willing, they will all be close 10 years from now. If so, it is entirely possible they will be confiding in each other about 'stuff' they may not be telling us.

I'm feeling pretty blessed about all this.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Traditions.

It is December 26. Ella is slowing waking from her long winter's nap. Currently she's belting out Jingle Bells through the baby monitor in her sleepy voice. The snow is blowing around outside. We haven't left the house all day. Ella wants that to change as she's begging to go play in the snow. I'm less than thrilled about this idea. I've got a blog to update, kid.

We had a great Christmas whirlwind around here. It went something like this:

  • Christmas Eve candlelight service at Ah-men
  • Annual party at our friends' house afterwards
  • Santa prep and a very late hit-the-pillow
  • Sleeping in until 8:30am!!! on Christmas morning
  • Tearing through presents
  • Declaring "Santa is the best Santa EVER!!" 100 times
  • Naps
  • Christmas night at my parents' NEW house just down the street

Now, to give all this to you in photos.

Candy cane love!
Santa leaves his mark.
Thomas! Thomas! Thomas!

And awesome cars.

And some doctoring with Grandma and Papa.
The tradition continues in the parents' new digs!
Lily girl.
Matthew and Ella.
Ella with Haley and her Aunt Cathy
Ella loves Matthew and Michael, that's for sure.
And Ella won. She convinced us all to bundle up and brave the wind and snow. It was beautiful. And worth the frozen toes.

My view from the dining room windows.

And this precious scene as we traipsed up and down the streets...


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012!!

"People were sleeping, we didn't care. Good news, we sang, our baby is here! Our baby has come, our darling one, Oh the day that you were born." (Little One, We Knew You'd Come ~ Sally Lloyd-Jones)

This book is easily one of our most soothing sleepytime reads with Ella. It was a gift from Danielle, Allen and Madrin as we arrived home with a sweet, chubby little baby Ella. And although it intertwines with our story, it is THE story anticipating the birth of Jesus. We are reading it a lot lately, as you can imagine.

At the last minute this year (finding this to be pretty typical fashion for me), the stars aligned for me to take Christmas card photos of Ella. She makes it hard. Really hard. And there are bribes of all sorts while I'm taking these...


The temptation to use this one was BIG.
The winner...

May your day be filled with laughter, good food and good people. Merry Christmas, Ella-Land. ~H

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Roz Turns 4. Fire Stations. Christmas Buzz.

It's not every day that your best friend turns four. And in fabulous Roz fashion, we celebrated in Wizard of Oz style. Roz made an amazing Dorothy.

I took this picture right before Ella did more than her part in helping to blow out her candle.

There were kisses and laughter and sister-fighting. It was perfect. We were so glad to be part of the celebration.

On Wednesday, we set up a special afternoon for the girls. A long-time friend of the family is a lieutenant at the fire station in our neighborhood. He is retiring in a few short weeks, which amazes me to no end because I remember him getting sworn in like it was just last month. Both chicks are pretty fascinated with the firetruck scene. Especially Ella, who listens for the sirens and yells out, "There goes Chris, mom!" every time one blares by.

It is a busy station and when we arrived, they were all out on calls. So we waited in the car for Chris's return. And were serenaded with this:

As the video is ending, Ella notices the firetruck coming back and tries to play coy :)

Roz was brave enough to take the wheel with me; Ella not so much.

She did get close enough to inspect the shiny wheels, however. And the big 25 on the shiny grill.

The girls were pretty sweet on Chris. But Roz was especially smitten with him. She's got pretty good taste.

As of this writing, we are three days away from Christmas. The napping is nearly non-existent. I blame the Christmas buzz. She belts out Christmas tunes and horses around in her bed for over an hour until we pull the plug. Her mood is insanely good when she realizes she has bucked the system. And then 4:30 hits. And she nose-dives. And the mood turns sour. And the fits get BIG. And the hitting and kicking begins when her way is not achieved. And there are time outs. And me walking away saying some kind of prayer out loud...And then there's this, from Ella as she cries and screams from timeout:  "I'm telling Dr. Tracy you are not being kind to me!!!!" Dr. Tracy is her pediatrician. And I had to do everything not to burst into laughter, because when I laugh when her fit is in tenth gear it only makes her foam at the mouth mad. (Yes. Ella has a temper. It is hot and short.)

In between meltdowns, we have had some fun working on some homemade Christmas presents and wearing cute shirts.

And eating cookies from our awesome neighborhood mama-friend, Michelle.

And then brushing our teeth really well. In fact, Ella would brush her teeth every hour if we let her.

Merry Christmas, Ella-Land. We love you!!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Talk about radiant beams!

Saturday was a pretty awesome day. How many of YOU can say you got to see Santa, Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and the gigantic Christmas light display at the zoo all in 12 hours :)

Ella and I met Santa and The Holy Fam at our church. All the kids had a wonderful time. And I wasn't surprised to see Ella wait until all the other children clear out for storytime to have her turn with Santa. With Panda pressed firmly against her nose she squeaked out, "I want a Thomas the Train, Santa". She needed my company to sit with him.

Ella was not really supposed to be in this photo. I was taking photos the other direction and turned to see she had left my side. It's her church, you know? I smirked at her comfort level...and then photographed it, of course.

Before bundling up to hit the zoo, we ate at our new favorite Chinese restaurant. It is heavenly.

See what I mean?

We knew this tree was awesome. It was no surprise when we learned it was #8 in the Top Ten Trees in the U.S.

It really is that huge.
The glow was intense.

Anything with branches is wrapped like this. Through the entire zoo. When we visited back in July and August they were working on them. It is almost more than your eyes can handle.

The excitement buzzing around Ella is palpable. She gets that Christmas is only a few days away. Naps are hit or miss. The last two afternoons, she has spent over 90 minutes in bed singing Christmas carols...over and over and over again. "Deck the Halls" is a new favorite. She is fa-la-la-la'ing everywhere.

She walked into the kitchen tonight and made this grand announcement: "this is the corporation for public broadcasting" and then left the room. Guilty as charged - NPR is where the radio is dialed in and PBS is a frequent channel on the TV. Funny girl.

More catch up coming at you later as Ella's BFF Roz turned FOUR years old and we had a super special Wednesday with Roz, too.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Woefully behind...tis the season.

Last week, Ella performed her very first Christmas Program. There was a lot of talk leading up to the actual performance because each child was required to wear reindeer antlers. Ella wasn't hip to this. And she was worried about Panda. Where was Panda going to be while she performed? Thank goodness for Mrs. B, who propped up P-Man next to her while she helped the kids with their hand movements and words. And the antlers went on her little head without any tears.

Unfortunately, the antlers weren't cooperating and by the second song, all the kids had them off! She was shy, tentative in her performing. She did rock it out a little as you can see.

And when the class started singing, Mary Had A Baby, she belted it out with her little hands folded in front of her. So serious about this song and anyone within a 10-mile radius of our home should know the words by heart. She's been singing it non-stop.

Ella had quite a turnout of fans. Grandma, Papa, KatieRoz, Nicole, Lily, Matthew and Michael were all there to cheer her on. She was elated. As were we!


We were really proud of our girl. ~H